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SUBARU'S UPCOMING 7-SEAT XUV TO CARRY $40,000 PRICE TAG
Vehicle slated to compete against BMW X5, Volvo XC90

TOKYO - Subaru will price its large crossover vehicle at about $40,000 when it arrives in the United States in the middle of next year.

The automaker expects the seven-seater, which will be powered by a 3.0-liter engine and feature all-wheel drive, to compete with upscale SUVs such as the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90.

The X5's base sticker is $40,995 and the XC90's base price is $35,475. Both prices include destination charges.

The Subaru nameplate, dubbed the XUV, must satisfy demand from American buyers for "a big but fuel-efficient vehicle," says Kyoji Takenaka, president of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which manufactures Subarus.

"That's a key" to differentiate the XUV from its rivals, he says.

The company will strive to reduce the vehicle's weight to boost fuel efficiency, Takenaka says.

Subaru has set a monthly sales target of 3,000 for the crossover. That plan is expected to increase total U.S. Subaru sales to 250,000 in the fiscal year ending in March 2007. In 2003, Subaru sold 186,819 vehicles in the United States.

The new vehicle also will help raise the automaker's U.S. market share from 1.1 percent last year to 1.5 percent in the fiscal year ending in March 2007.

The Japanese brand aims particularly to boost its share in the Sun Belt.

To reach its sales goal, Subaru plans to boost the ratio of dealerships that sell exclusively Subarus from 33 percent today to 42 percent by March 2007.

The automaker will keep the total dealership number at about 600
 

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Yikes, that's ugly. Let's hope saab can make it pretty.
 

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wow, that is terrible looking. terrible.
 
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